For Utah remain competitive now and in the future, we must take meaningful action to ensure every child in our state has access to quality education from their first day of preschool to their first day of their career. As a Caucus, we are committed to making the decisions in the legislature which will help us achieve our shared goal of an effective, high-quality education system.Read More
The Utah State House Democratic Caucus will aggressively foster an atmosphere of strong economic growth that will lead to the creation of well-paying jobs in Utah. By recognizing the importance of high-quality education, emphasizing small local businesses, and pursuing innovative public and private partnerships, we will create new revenue streams, attract new business while developing a thriving economy that will ensure a prosperous future for our state.Read More
The House Democratic Caucus believes in open, honest, transparent and accessible government while upholding the trust you place in us as elected officials. We are committed to shaping policy and proposing reforms that establish campaign standards, increase civic participation, and ensure broad-access to all Utahns.Read More
- John F. Kennedy
Our mission for this session centered around the idea of Keeping Utah Competitive. Our state has so much to offer – wonderful people, beautiful surroundings, and a strong economy, but we want to be known on a national level for those things as well as our great schools, clean air, and safe, healthy communities.
In order to keep Utah competitive nationally, we need to be recognized as a state that values education, health & safety, strategic community development, and open government for ALL of our residents.
The policy and budget priorities that we brought forth during the session reflected that goal. To see a breakdown of our budget priorities the Utah House Democratic Caucus fought for during this year’s budgeting process, click here.
Our caucus was effective this session because we were determined to give a voice to groups that are often underrepresented in the Utah legislature – working families, women, children, and teachers – individuals that do not have powerful lobbyists or special interests to speak for them.
We stayed strong in our values and made fact-based budget decisions that reflected the needs of ALL Utahns by prioritizing quality education, healthy, safe communities, and good governance.
- Our 2013 Legislation -
Quality education for all Utah students was a top priority for the Utah House Democratic Caucus this session. Members of our caucus ran legislation which called for education funding, classroom safety, and curriculum updates. For a complete list of our education bills and their statuses click here.
HEALTH & PUBLIC SAFETY
We are committed to enacting policy that provides every opportunity for individuals and their families to be healthy & safe. This year we addressed everything from improving our air quality to ensuring that 131,000 uninsured Utahns have the opportunity to become covered by Medicaid expansion. For a complete list of our 2013 health & public safety bills and their statuses click here.
Our caucus recognizes the importance of fostering economic growth and community development in our state for all Utahns. Members of our caucus ran legislation which focused on small, local businesses and sustainable business practices. For a complete list of our economic & community development bills and their statuses click here.
The House Democratic Caucus believes in open, honest, and accessible government while upholding the trust you place in us as elected officials. This year we found great success in not only passing good governance legislation, but creating a dialogue about the things our state can do in the future to and ensure broad civic access to all Utahns. For a complete list of our 2013 good governance bills and their statuses click here.Read More
HB 13 – Protection of Children Riding in Motor Vehicles
Gayle Ruzicka, Utah Eagle Forum, testifies against HB 13.
HB 13 prohibits smoking in cars when children under 16 are passengers. This bill passed the House and Senate, and is awaiting action by Governor Herbert. Some members of the Eagle Forum and other Tea Party activists are encouraging the Governor to veto this bill. If you want to express your opinion to the Governor, you can send him a letter at the State Capitol or email your message to: email@example.com. Feel free to contact Representative Patrice Arent at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like any information about the need for this legislation.
On Sunday, KSL’s Doug Wright’s weekly television segment was about HB 13. Doug had a person smoke in his treasured truck, then he sat in the driver’s seat and measured the quickly deteriorating air quality. You can watch his segment here (segment three).
Primary Sponsor: Rep. Patrice Arent
Senate Sponsor: Senator Aaron Osmond
Cosponsors: Representatives Lee Perry, Ray, Menlove, Barlow, Cosgrove,
Chavez-Houck, M. Brown, D. Brown, Eliason, McIff, Moss, Snow, Draxler, Briscoe, King, Seelig, Pitcher, Poulson, Powell, Edwards, Redd, Hall
HB 13 prohibits smoking in a vehicle when children age 15 and younger are passengers. The bill protects Utah’s children – those who have little or no control over those smoking around them – from the serious, avoidable health hazards of second-hand smoke (SHS) in vehicles.
The worst place for children to be exposed to SHS is a small, enclosed place such as a car, where the concentration of SHS is about 27 times greater than in other settings. Subjecting a child to SHS in an enclosed area is actually more dangerous than having a child smoke a filtered cigarette in a large, open space. In Utah adults cannot buy cigarettes for children nor force children to smoke, yet they are able to blow SHS into a child’s face while the child is strapped in a car seat with nowhere else to go.
In 2007 the Surgeon General reported, “Second-hand smoke contains more than 250 chemicals known to be toxic or carcinogenic (cancer-causing)…Children who are exposed to SHS are inhaling many of the same cancer-causing substances and poisons as smokers.” In 2010, the Surgeon General released a report on involuntary exposure to SHS, again stating that SHS causes disease and death in children.
Current Utah Law
Utah law prohibits smoking in a number of public places, and in many cases on private property, including home daycare centers, public and private schools, public transportation, restaurants, shopping malls, and theaters. Utah also has laws to safeguard vulnerable children who cannot protect themselves, including:
All of these laws weigh the health of children against other rights and reflect the Utah Legislature’s desire to protect the health of our children.
Penalties, Exception and Bill Status
HB 13 makes smoking in vehicles when children are passengers a secondary offense. Also, until July 1, 2014, peace officers may only issue a warning for violations. After that date, violators may be fined up to $45. This penalty can be waived if the violator enrolls in a smoking cessation program. There is an exception for convertibles if the top is down.
The Final Countdown
Things are moving fast as we begin to approach the end of the session, and The House Democratic Caucus has been getting a lot of good things accomplished for Utahns. Here is a quick rundown of our week:
- BILLS ON THE MOVE -
HB 64 - Rep. Moss’s bill which prohibits a felon who is convicted of a sexual offense from holding the office of State Board of Education member or local school board member has passed through the House & Senate, and is on its way to the Governor for his signature.
HB 240 – Rep. Fisher’s bill clarifies a Utah state liquor law by affirming that if a patron indicates they intend to order food they may be served an alcoholic beverage.
HEALTH & PUBLIC SAFETY
HB 165- Rep. Cosgrove’s bill eliminates the exemption for childcare workers from a fingerprint-based background check for an individual who has resided in Utah for five years. This bill passed favorably out of the House and is headed to the Senate.
HB 91S2 – Rep. Chavez-Houck’s bill which allows voters to register on Election Day passed favorably out of the House Government Operations Committee and is headed to the House floor.Read More
House Democratic Caucus Leader Jennifer Seelig ended Friday’s session with a quote from one of our Founding Mothers…
A very sweet note from a young constituent that Rep. Chavez-Houck keeps in her office.Read More